<%@ Language=VBScript %> Keepgoing.org - Summer 2001 - Summer Porch
The Farm

Summer Porch
By Chris Kowalski

I’m going crazy for you in the summer heat. The thickness that makes my body drip water and salt. Staining my clothes, stinging my eyes, running slick down my sides, and all the while the fan trained on you. The heat is underneath my flesh, but you fend off my advances. This time. When the gaps between the slats of the rotting old swing seem strange underneath your back.

Summer Porch “What’s the matter? Too much sugar in your lemonade?”

“Yes,” you spit. “Life’s not this sweet. It tastes strange to me.”

“Swallow your bitter pills,” I chide. Resigned grin. Lean forward slightly. Slightly condescendingly. “The summer’s air is full of nectar and pollen. It’s so sweet I could choke on it. That lemonade is perfect for a day such as this.”

“Too sweet.”

You wave your hand lazily, dismissing all as beyond your concern. You won’t fight me on this one, and the day is mine to paint as I please. Your hat lolls in the breeze, your hair is in your face and you smile at me. The one sure thing in the wind. Then I tell you a story of tag til it got dark and lean boys high up in the trees. All the things it meant to grow up where I grew up. Where construction sites and forests and train hopping were the whole world. All the things a boy’s summer was full of.

“Tell me what the forests looked like,” I ask you. “Tell me of where the fields were full of daisies and they seemed to stretch on forever. Tell me about the wild dog that almost bit you when you were picking berries,” I coax. “I want to hear it all.”

“Oh, the flowers are as big as your face, and you can’t go anywhere without picking berries. You’re tripping over them. But the bees get in your hair ‘cause on really hot days you just sweat honey, and then it’s just as sweet as can be.“

“I always knew it would be like that.”

“No,” you cry out, jumping up. “It was never like that. It was all big city and streets. And people just laying all over the streets and in your doorway because there’s nowhere to go. Sometimes the air conditioner broke, and then you felt sick it was so hot. But that was okay. Because the winters were worse.”

“Naw. The winters were full of snow hills as tall as you were. Snow forts and sledding by moonlight.“

“Yeah,” you sigh as you back. “They were full of that too. I just like the summers better.”

You face has lost the flush it had from the beach, leaving only the fresh glow of your inner vitality and the cool bliss of relaxation. Your back arches as you shift to lie flat on the swing. I nudge you gently back and forth with my foot while listening to the narcotic hum of the insects fading in and out. The sky is clear and blue and the air is full of the smells of the whole world just growing at once and bursting with life.

My shoulder pops as I stretch, and the afternoon warmth soaks into the joint until the muscles become limp and languished. The porch rail is almost a foot wide and covered with so many coats of white latex enamel that it is polished smooth as a stone from a riverbed. I lay down on it, supporting my spine and between my shoulder blades. It feels awkward at first, but once I find my center of gravity, it’s easy to settle into and just nod off. The thin breeze sweeps all around me, and when I close my eyes I can hear the whole world just hum.

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Copyright©2001 by Chris Kowalski.

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